Mental Health Nursing - March Intake (BN)

The Cardiff Bachelor of Nursing (BN) is an innovative and contemporary programme, redesigned for 2012 to meet the new Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) 2010 standards.

Students specialise in one of three fields of nursing (Adult, Child or Mental Health) from the start of the programme. The integrated nature of the programme enables students from all three fields to learn together, sharing ideas while focusing on the needs of their individual field.

Mental health nurses work with individuals, families and carers to offer help and support in dealing with a wide variety of mental health conditions. They may specialise in working with children and young people, older people or working age adults. The Cardiff nursing programme is designed to develop practitioners with the skills and knowledge to work in a dynamic, changing health care environment. During your time as a student at Cardiff you will learn about promoting health, preventing illness and delivering high quality, holistic care that is based on sound evidence.

Entry requirements

Information on alternative entry requirements and our selection and interview processes can be found on our admissions criteria pages.

International applicants

We regret that this course is unable to accept applications for the 2016/17 intake (including deferred applications to 2017/18) from international fee-status applicants due to the association with the National Health Service (NHS) and the restrictions on funding and clinical placements.

Key facts

UCAS CodeB761
Duration3 years
AccreditationsNursing and Midwifery Council (NMC)
Typical places availableThe course typically has approximately 90 places available across both intakes
Typical applications receivedThe course typically receives approximately 546 applications across both intakes
Scholarships and bursaries
Typical A level offerBBB. No specified subjects.
Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offerWBQ core will be accepted in lieu of one A-level (at the grades specified above).
Typical International Baccalaureate offer28 points. Contact the School for detailed information.
Other qualificationsApplications from those offering alternative qualifications are welcome. Please see detailed information about alternative entry requirements here.

Detailed alternative entry requirements are available for this course.
QAA subject benchmark

Health Studies

Academic School
Admissions tutor(s)

Mrs Fiona Bowring-lossock , Admissions Tutor

    Mrs Claire Mcandrew , Course Administrator

      What is Mental Health Nursing?

      Mental health nurses work with individuals, families and carers to offer help and support in dealing with a wide variety of mental health conditions. They may specialise in working with children and young people, older people or working age adults.

      Mental health nurses work in multi-disciplinary teams, liaising with psychiatrists, psychologists, occupational therapists, GPs, social workers, other health professionals and the Third Sector. Care is provided in a variety of settings including hospitals, patients'/clients' own homes, community health care centres, specialist units or secures environments. While the key role and challenge of the mental health nurse is to form therapeutic relationships with mentally ill people and their families, it is imperative that they are also able to meet the physical needs of those in their care – providing all-round, holistic recovery focused care for their patients/clients.

      Mental Health Nursing at Cardiff

      Future mental health care presents many challenges. These will include long-term conditions, an ageing population, and providing more community based services outside of hospitals for individuals and families across the lifespan. The Mental Health field of the Cardiff nursing programme is informed by current mental health nursing practice, as well as the most up-to-date research. A focus on psychological therapies, counselling and psychosocial interventions forms a key part of the course.

      Our aim is to produce mental health nurses who can act autonomously and independently. We will nurture your ability to deliver essential and complex care to a very high standard, utilising evidence based practice and modern technology, and to be confident at performing a variety of roles which may include practitioner, educator, leader and researcher. You will be a mental health nurse who is 'fit for purpose' and 'fit for practice'(NMC 2010).

      The Cardiff nursing programme is designed to develop practitioners with the skills and knowledge to work in a dynamic, changing health care environment. During your time as a student at Cardiff you will learn about promoting health, preventing illness and delivering high quality, holistic care that is based on sound evidence.

      This course provides an education which is commensurate with contemporary mental health nursing practice which seeks to:

      • Apply the values of the recovery approach (promoting meaningful hope whilst working with the user to minimise social exclusion);
      • Promote equality in care;Provide evidence based care and improve outcomes for people with mental distress/health problems/ill health.
      • Provide evidence based care and improve outcomes for people with mental distress/health problems/ill health.

      Essential skills

      As well as being taught the fundamental nursing skills required for holistic, dignified patient care (including nutrition, mobility, hygiene and so on), your degree will include the study and application of the clinical sciences (anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology and medicines management), as well as key psychological and psychosocial interventions. As well as physical health assessments, you will learn about the sociology and history of mental illness and mental health provision.


      You will develop essential communication and therapeutic skills and strategies, as well as an understanding of issues surrounding empowerment and advocacy - crucial to delivering patient centred care. You will study modules that aim to develop your awareness of ethical issues, placed within the context of current mental health legislation, and your ability to identify the way in which policy influences service provision. Your degree will develop your awareness of diversity issues and broaden your understanding of health promotion, investigating strategies for tackling stigma and discrimination.

      The role of the nurse

      Understanding the development of the nurse's role will be crucial to your degree. Learning to reflect critically on practice, analysing evidence, and evaluating care delivery will be a key element of your development. We will teach you to work effectively in the multi-disciplinary teams required to provide effective health care, based on partnership with patients / clients and carers, and other health providers.

      In your final year, you will be encouraged to develop an in-depth understanding of the organisation and culture of modern health care systems. You will develop crucial insights into the management of resources, time and information, and work to develop your negotiation and leadership skills.

      Year one

      Year two

      Year three

      The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

      We will help you develop the confidence to work independently and autonomously. Utilising effective communication skills, ensuring dignity is maintained and care is compassionate and respectful, you will work in partnership with patients / clients, families and carers, other health and social care professionals and Third Sector organisations.

      Lectures, tutorials, workshops, simulations, seminar style discussions, online discussions, presentations and specific group work will all feature as part of your degree. At the start of your studies you will be assigned a personal tutor to provide pastoral support and an academic supervisor to provide academic guidance.


      Modules will be assessed using a variety of methods, including written assignments, exams, presentations and a clinical portfolio.


      The Cardiff BN is divided equally between theory and practice in order to maximise the link between clinical and theoretical learning. Students spend 50% of their time in University, and 50% of their time in clinical practice with the support of experienced qualified nurses.

      Practical learning opportunities will provide you with the opportunity to learn within a variety of settings, including the home environment, hospitals and the community, and in both the public and private sectors. They give students the opportunity to build their expertise, developing vital skills, supported by clinicians who will support your professional and personal growth and ensure you can meet NMC requirements. Whilst in clinical practice you will be supported by a mentor who is able to provide advice and guidance on a whole range of clinical matters.


      Our degree programme promotes patient-centred care and values-based nursing. This is enhanced by opportunities for shared learning experiences with students studying Adult and Children's Nursing. Such integration not only offers the benefits of peer learning, but also the opportunity to place your specific field into the context of wider and more complex care. Shared learning is a particular feature of the programme in years one and two, while year three is predominantly field specific as you prepare to qualify within your chosen field.

      Clinical Skills

      We have some of the UKs leading facilities to help our students develop fundamental skills. The highly-equipped skills laboratories in our Clinical Simulation Suite enable realistic ward, community, home and emergency simulations.

      These lifelike simulations mean that you are able to practice and develop essential skills safely, developing your confidence and expertise so that you feel prepared when real life situations present themselves in clinical areas.

      Simulation scenarios for students in the Mental Health field focus on developing your interpersonal and communication skills. Supported and informed by your theoretical learning, you will utilise the skills you learn in many different clinical situations. We will help you develop your confidence and competence using digitally recorded sessions in our communication booths, enabling you and your fellow students to reflect on and review your skills.

      In 2012, 95% of the School's graduates were in employment within six months of graduation while others were in engaged in further study or taking time out to travel.

      Employers included: various Health boards and NHS Trusts, international health services and higher education institutions. Career destinations included: midwife, nurse, advanced nurse practitioner, health visitor, research nurse, ward manager, and lecturer.

      Information and resources relating to mental health nursing (including a video on this career pathway)


      • Mental Health Nurse
      • Ward Manager
      • Lecturer

      Clinical placements are an essential part of Nursing and Midwifery degree programmes across the UK. The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) require nursing and midwifery students to complete 50% of the programme in clinical practice.

      Cardiff School of Healthcare Sciences works with a number of healthcare organisations to provide a range of suitable clinical placements so that at the end of the programme you will have experienced a wide range of healthcare provision.

      While in clinical practice you will be supported by a practicing nurse or midwife, who will be able to advise, support and supervise you throughout your placement. Practice learning opportunities are vital to your learning experience, and our students value the solid grounding in clinical practice that placements provide.

      What to expect

      In order for you to be able to plan ahead during the academic year, students are provided with a 'Placement Line' at the beginning of each academic year which details the expected clinical areas you are going to be allocated to. Ensuring that you experience the full range of clinical experiences means that you can expect to work a variety of hours, from the traditional working week of Monday to Friday 9 to 5, to morning shifts which start between 7am and 8am in the morning, afternoon shifts which can finish as late as 9.30pm, night shifts and weekends.

      Placements will be in hospitals, nursing homes and in the community across South East Wales - mainly situated from Barry in the West to Chepstow in the East and from Cardiff in the South to Abergavenny and Merthyr to the North, meaning that while several placements are in central Cardiff, you will need to expect to travel to some placements during your programme.

      Placements are allocated so that you are able to get there using public transport. The longest you would be expected to travel by public transport is approximately 90 minutes; however, these would be the exception and you would normally be able to reach placement using public transport in approximately 30-60 minutes.

      For more information on placements visit the School website.


      3 Year(s)

      Next intake

      March 2016

      Places available

      Typical places available

      The School admits 280 students each year to its undergraduate degree programmes.

      Applications received

      Typical applications received



      QAA subject benchmark

      QAA subject benchmark

      Health Studies

      What are the aims of this Programme?

      The Bachelor of Nursing (BN) provides learning, teaching and assessment experiences that allow the student to become a reflective graduate level practitioner who has necessary skills and competencies to register with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), and contribute safely and effectively to nursing practice. The programme will have 3 pathways leading to the eligibility to register with the NMC as an Adult, Child or Mental Health Nurse.

      The programme ensures that the student meets the theory and practice requirements contained within the four overarching domains set out by the NMC (2010):

      1. Professional values;
      2. Communication and interpersonal skills;
      3. Nursing practice and decision making: and
      4. Leadership, management and team working abilities

      and the Essential Skills clusters as set out by the NMC (2010)

      1. Care, compassion and communication;
      2. Organisational aspects of care;
      3. Infection, prevention and control;
      4. Nutrition and fluid management: and
      5. Medicines management

      The overall aim of the programme is to:

      Prepare a confident, knowledgeable graduate registered nurse, who has the necessary critical abilities, understanding, skills, behaviour and competence to safely and effectively provide high quality nursing care in a rapidly changing environment. All graduates will be able to provide essential care to all.  Within their specific field of practice, Mental Health, Adult or Children’s nursing; the graduate will be able to deliver complex care to meet the needs of the individual.

      What is expected of me?

      • Good health , Good character

      All students require providing evidence of good health and good character at admission, and at key stages throughout the programme (end of year 1, 2 and 3). This involves the student undertaking an assessment by occupational health and having good physical and mental health with reasonable fitness. All students will be required to complete an enhanced criminal record bureau disclosure prior to commencement of the programme.

      • Attendance

      Attendance is required at all arranged time-tabled sessions within the School and a register of attendance will be maintained. You are also required to attend all practice learning opportunities as planned and these hours are recorded. Eligibility for NMC registration requires completion of 4,600 hours.

      • Confidentiality

      In the course of your work, you will come into possession of information regarding patients/clients and their circumstances.  Such information must be regarded as confidential and should be divulged to other individuals / agencies only if the patient consents, or when required to do so by law. Breaches of confidentiality may result in termination of your participation in the programme. 

      • Conduct            

       The University expects students to act responsibly and to maintain appropriate standards of personal behaviour at all times.  This relates to your time in university , during practice learning and in your free time. It also relates to information about the University, its staff and students, and images posted on social web sites such as Facebook and Myspace.

      When using IT Facilities you will need to comply with the University IT ‘Regulations and Acceptable Use’ Policy.  Anyone found in breach of the regulations will be subject to the appropriate disciplinary code.  Further guidance on IT use can be found in your School Student Handbook.

      • Uniform

      You will be expected to adhere to the Uniform Policy with regard to the standard of dress whilst undertaking your practice learning  Body piercing should be removed while in uniform; this applies to ‘fixed’ body piercing which should be removed prior to commencement of the programme.  Failure to comply with the uniform policy may result in disciplinary action.

      Students are expected to adhere to the Cardiff University policy on Dignity at Work and Study.

      How is this Programme Structured?

      Please see 'How will I be taught?' The programme shall extend for three sessions and shall comprise six semesters. There will be 40 weeks of programmed activity, 50 % theory 50% in clinical practice per year, comprising 360 credits in total.

      Will I need any specific equipment to study this Programme?

      No specific equipment required

      What skills will I practise and develop?

      Students will acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both those which are intellectual, subject specific and transferable/generic skills. Through the programme students will develop a professional attitude towards communication and interpersonal skills, partnership working and responsibility for personal and professional development. Students will also acquire a number of specific skills, such as the ability to collect, analyse and interpret a range of quantitative and qualitative data and apply the evidence to nursing practice. Student will also acquire the skills of working independently, problem solve and make informed decisions and conclusions.

      How will I be taught?

      The programme is divided equally between theory and clinical practice. Both components will comprise of a minimum of 2,300 hours, totalling 4,600 hours over 3 years (inclusive of recognition for accredited prior learning).Each year will comprise of 50% theory (20 weeks) and 50% clinical practice (20 weeks). There are at least 4 weeks of continues practice learning towards the end of the first and second year (i.e. before each progression point).The duration of the last practice learning opportunity in the programme is 14 weeks, and is where a sign off mentor will make judgment about the students’ achievements of the required competencies for safe and effective entry to the NMC register.

      The theory and practice element are the two key components of the programme which are fundamentally aligned throughout to encourage the recognition of transferable flexible skills.  All of the 13 taught modules within the programme are compulsory and will offer a flexible blended approach to learning to allow the students to have access to on line resources via ‘Learning central’ when in a practice learning situation as well as in the theory modules.7 There will be opportunities throughout the programme for students to study in their field groups as well as studying with students from different nursing fields and other health professionals.  The field specific content will increase in year 2 and within year 3 there will be 1 field specific module.

      The programme has been designed to meet all the NMC standards, competencies and essential skills clusters as well as the European directives where appropriate. The programme will provide opportunities for students to explore their own value systems as well as facilitating identification of values in different belief systems and social groupings. This will enable students to explore and understand human interaction in society which can lead to a greater social coherence as well as developing a common positive values system that reflects the requirements of a nursing professional. This positive values system will enable development of the student and the adoption of professional nursing values that will lead to a value based focused registered nurse. 

      Although evident in all part of the programme the ‘Professional practice’ theme will ensure its prominence throughout the programme, and ensure it is grounded in nursing care which will encompass the ethical dimensions of dignity and respect.

      Exploration of value based care will be undertaken through inquisitive inquiry and reflection with the students being supported to develop care and compassion which will be underpinned by evidenced based knowledge. This will develop the individual with the knowledge, skills and confidence to deliver high quality care and to recognise where care is not at an acceptable quality and to instigate appropriate action.

      The values based programme has been developed as a spiral curriculum based on a constructivist model (Bruner 1977) with six key themes. The themes were informed by the consultation and overarching domains set out by the NMC (2010).

      • Professional practice,                  
      • Public health,
      • Evidence-based practice     
      • Fundamental care
      • Leadership and management
      • Complex care


      The teaching and learning strategy is based upon three main principles: blended learning across the curriculum; providing vibrant learning experiences that develop a culture of independent learning; and inter-professional learning, which fosters team working and understanding between fields of practice and the wider health and social professions.

      A diverse range of teaching and learning styles are used throughout the programme, aligned appropriately to each specific module and learning outcomes with the recognition that the students become increasingly self-directed and independent. This will be achieved through the use of inquiry based approach to learning as well as the students increasing their involvement in arranging clinical learning opportunities, as they progress through the programme. Students will attend lectures, participate in seminars, group work, debates, student directed learning, discussion, reflection, independent learning, tutorials and interaction with lecturers and peers, and have the opportunity to learn in the simulation suite and in a variety of clinical practice settings. Each module and practice learning opportunity will reflect the overarching principles of the values based programme of partnership with our students, service users and carers, practice experts, mentors and inter-professional learning.

      During the student practice learning opportunity they will be supervised directly and indirectly at all times by a mentor, and therefore will be supernumerary. Allocation of a mentor, who will be available for 40% of the time during the student practice learning, will be undertaken on commencement of the experience. Health and safety legislation will be adhered to and risk assessment will be undertaken, as appropriate, prior to going into practice for those students identified at being at risk. 

      How will I be assessed?


      The assessments used within this programme relate to the measurement of professional, academic and/or clinical practice. This includes written work such as posters, presentations, reflective narratives, evidence based literature reviews, examinations, case studies, dissertations and completion of portfolio.  The portfolio will comprise of the ongoing record of achievement which contains the practice learning outcomes and the attitude rating scales as well as personal reflections with contribution from service users. Detailed written criteria and guidelines for each assessment are provided for students. The assessment of clinical practice will be undertaken by mentors through supervision, support and guided by the ‘All Wales’ practice learning outcomes’ within the ongoing record of achievement  document. Each placement area is supported by a link lecturer who is a member of the academic staff with a current NMC nursing registration and a recorded teaching qualification. All components of the assessment must be achieved for successful completion.  There is no compensation between module assessments.


      Feedback will be in accordance with the School’s Assessment and Feedback strategy

      How will I be supported?

      Personal Tutor Role

      Each student is allocated a personal tutor at the start of the programme.  The role of the personal tutor is to provide support for pastoral issues and the learning and assessment in clinical practice.  The personal tutor will advise students about the processes for support, including learning and study skills needs; the University Student Support Services; and disclosure of extenuating circumstances.  Details about personal tutor support are provided in the University Student Handbook, School Student Handbook and in the University Personal Tutor Policy.

      Academic Support and Supervision

      A system of module management is in place for all undergraduate programme modules.  Each student will be allocated an academic supervisor on commencement of a module.  Students will be provided with details of academic supervision arrangements, including group timetabled sessions and individual tutorials in the School Student Handbook, the School Assessment and Feedback Strategy and during each module of the programme cohort Information and guidance in relation to the processes for marking, internal moderation and external examiner, quality monitoring will be provided for students in the School Student Handbook.

      Study Skills Support

      In addition to access to a personal tutor, written information and resources on enhancing personal study skills and examination technique is provided in the School Student Handbook.  Guidance on how to structure and present assignments is also provided.  Student Support Services are also available to provide students with appropriate support.

      Information Technology support

      Students are taught how to use ‘Learning Central’ as part of the programme induction. Comprehensive written guidelines on the use of ‘Learning Central’ and how to submit summative assessments via ‘Learning central’ will also be provided in the School Student Handbook. 

      Students are also able to rent a latest specification wireless enabled laptop computer pre-configured to the university network.  This could be for the duration of the course or for just one month.  Information on how to access this scheme is provided in the School Student Handbook.

      What are the Learning Outcomes of this Programme?

      Graduates from this programme will be able to:

      1.    Utilise a professional nursing values base, to provide safe and effective evidence-based client led care in a variety of settings;

      2.    Demonstrate effective communication and interpersonal skills through practising compassionate care principles;

      3.    Apply knowledge and critically reflect upon leadership, care management and team working  in nursing practice;

      4.    Address socio-economic, psycho-social, legal ethical and political aspects of client needs in the context of nursing care;

      5.    Demonstrate the ability to critically analyse complex data and situations and to utilise appropriate problem solving skills;

      6.    Demonstrate understanding of research processes and effectively and appropriately utilise the evidence base within care and service provision;

      7.    Apply knowledge and understanding to contemporary developments within nursing, health and social care.

      Other information

      The Cardiff University undergraduate nursing student will have  a distinctive high quality learning experience designed to ensure that registrants are fit for practice and award and competent to meet the health and social care needs of  their clients/patients and their families. This has been achieved by a wide range of University, stakeholder and School strategies and projects, which uniquely combined with wide consultation, have produced an innovative and contemporary programme.

      During the second year, at the beginning of the second semester, there is an opportunity for students to undertake a practice learning opportunity in an alternative environment, either within the UK or overseas. Any practice learning opportunity will fulfil requirements and guidance as defined by the NMC (2010), and maintains safety of the student, and service users and careers in that area. This will enable the student to undertake a self selected placement within a health and /or social care learning environment.

      Admissions tutors

      Mrs Fiona Bowring-lossock , Admissions Tutor

        Mrs Claire Mcandrew , Course Administrator

          Key Information Sets (KIS) make it easy for prospective students to compare information about full or part time undergraduate courses, and are available on the Unistats website.